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NWFlyer

Canopy Manufacturers' Role in Rapid Downsizing

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One of the interesting pieces of the recent Snohomish fatality was that the jumper was not only jumping a small crossbraced canopy, he and his teammates were apparently sponsored by a canopy manufacturer.

In this case, the manufacturer's support of the rapid downsizing was explicit, through sponsorship of the jumper on a small, high-performance canopy. In other cases, it might be implicit, if the manufacturer doesn't consider experience when selling a high-performance canopy to a jumper.

There might be a valid argument in new canopy sales that the dealers ought to be the ones checking on experience to ensure that it's appropriate (and I truly believe that an awful lot of dealers are doing that because it's the right thing to do and it's to their benefit to keep their customers alive for additional purchases). A manufacturer can influence their dealers to do that kind of validation.

Of course, the used market is still out there, and while there are an awful lot of individual sellers who will, like dealers, do the right thing and validate experience, a determined jumper can still find a way to get the "wrong" canopy for their experience. No system will be perfect, but I'm trying to get a sense of what role the manufacturers can play in influencing the culture.

So I guess the question is - what role should manufacturers (and their network of dealers) play in keeping high-performance canopies out of the hands of those who have no business jumping them based on their experience level? Where would they draw the line? We know PD's selling the Peregrine on a "don't call us, we'll call you" basis, but should that rule apply to other high-performance wings as well?

What about sponsorship? Do they have a higher duty to ensure their sponsored athletes have appropriate canopies, given that the sponsored athletes are now representing the company and setting an example for other jumpers as to what's appropriate?

(edited to add screen shot of the page in case it gets taken down)
"There is only one basic human right, the right to do as you damn well please. And with it comes the only basic human duty, the duty to take the consequences." -P.J. O'Rourke

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I do not think it is the manufactures (or dealers) responsibility to police skydivers and their choices.

I know this its a stretch but what if someone wants to collect or invest in a few canopies to sell? They should have a right to do so regardless of jump numbers.

If a manufacture wants to police skydivers, good on them but by no means is it their duty to do so.

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wants to collect or invest in a few canopies to sell



Thats a far streach arguement. No unqualified pilot is going to "collect or invest" in a few canopies to sell later FROM A DEALER. Now buying them 3rd party is another thing, but why would I buy a NEW 100ish sq ft canopy from a dealer, not jump it, and sell it later...and try to make a profit. It doesn't work that way.
We're not fucking flying airplanes are we, no we're flying a glorified kite with no power and it should be flown like one! - Stratostar

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excaza

***I do not think it is the manufactures (or dealers) responsibility to police skydivers and their choices.


It is if the manufacturer is going to use them as a billboard for their product.

I agree. This is not going to reflect well on Icarus.

How much "Fuck Yeah!!" is going on about this young man's death?
"The ground does not care who you are. It will always be tougher than the human behind the controls."

~ CanuckInUSA

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I think this is an example of the changing times of the GoFast-YouTube-Immediate Gratification generation.

At the 2005 Holiday Boogie, I remember a jumper just under 500 jumps wanting to demo a XF. He had to almost negotiate with the rep to get one at just under 500 jumps.

And now a 400 jump tunnel wunderkind is factory sponsored on a xbraced canopy. Guess if you don't catch them young, you might lose these kids interest to some other brand.[:/]
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EppyNephrine

***I agree. This is not going to reflect well on Icarus.

How much "Fuck Yeah!!" is going on about this young man's death?



He was sponsored by Icarus Spain, not NZ Aerosports. So the 'Fuck Yeah!' is irrelevant to this.

Point taken. But if I got them mixed up then I am sure others have too. So not all that irrelevant.
"The ground does not care who you are. It will always be tougher than the human behind the controls."

~ CanuckInUSA

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excaza

***I do not think it is the manufactures (or dealers) responsibility to police skydivers and their choices.


It is if the manufacturer is going to use them as a billboard for their product.

Would that be the Agent 'Vic' Cooper model?

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Agreed, you have a valid point.

However, this manufacturer has it's SPONSORED TEAM flying cross braced canopies, one just died, with less than a few hundred jumps.

So, while what you are saying is valid, they aren't the cops, should they be sponsoring a team of tunnel rats, and providing them with cross braced canopies to fly out of the hole.

It's not a matter of looking at who to point the finger at. At the end of the day anyone that jumps out of a plane is responsible for THEIR choices.

It's a matter of we are evolving and should someone with a couple hundred jumps be flying a cross braced rocket?

This isn't about re-selling, etc....

Icarus isn't to blame anymore than anyone else is. What people are searching for is how to stop the high rate of death when people have a perfectly good canopy over their heads.

Period

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jumpinjackflsh



Icarus isn't to blame anymore than anyone else is. What people are searching for is how to stop the high rate of death when people have a perfectly good canopy over their heads.

Period



I was taught to lead by example. If you don't want people to jump a wing that is lightyears above their skill set, don't sponsor a jumper that has absolutely no reason to be jumping a xbraced wing. In this day in age of cool videos on you tube, no one sees the hundreds of jumps it took to master that jump that got posted. And some punk ass newb thinks they can do it on their first try.

Training wheels before racing slicks.
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I think this whole thing about holding skydiving manufacturers responsible is a microcosm of our society today in that there are several pushes going on to hold other product manufacturers responsible for the use of their products.

Personally, I think it's the wrong way to go about solving the problem of how people use any product.

There is no way any manufacturer can stop anyone from using their product in any idiotic manner. How can one reasonably expect that?

IMO, our only hope is at the DZO level. THEY are the only ones that can control who jumps what and when.
My reality and yours are quite different.
I think we're all Bozos on this bus.
Falcon5232, SCS8170, SCSA353, POPS9398, DS239

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popsjumper



There is no way any manufacturer can stop anyone from using their product in any idiotic manner. How can one reasonably expect that?



Andy, the canopy was used exactly as intended. Heavily loaded to swoop. The problem was the pilot had no reason to be on that type of wing at his jump numbers. The fact that the manufacturer sponsored him says they condone/support such actions of " using their product in any idiotic manner".

If he was not sponsored, would he have been on that canopy if he had to go through the effort to get one from a dealer or second hand seller?

If DZOs are the answer, why did someone injure them self so badly at your DZ of choice?

There is no one answer.
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popsjumper

IMO, our only hope is at the DZO level. THEY are the only ones that can control who jumps what and when.



Agreed, why is it we hold the DZO resposible for all other saftey violations?

On a side note... The sponsorship was with Icarus, not a Neos, they could have been jumping satfires, crossfires ect and still representing the company. I doubt Icarus said they had to jump a Neos. I am not saying they did not know he was flying one, but I bet they would have had no issue if he wanted to fly 169 crossfire or what ever....

I am not taking a side here. I just think that the manufacture is so distant from the DZ that is is not in their bubble to keep track of who is flying what.

I cant even think of a comparable. Fast car manufactures are not selling with discrimination, motorcycles are not sold with discrimination, guns are not sold by how many rounds you have fired in your life.

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I don't think the manufacturer has any responsibility towards those who buy their canopies. I have no problem with the manufacturer (and dealer) selling them to any willing buyer.

I do think the manufacturers should shy away from sponsoring under qualified pilots on their wings. It is not a moral issue to me, though. It's simply bad business.

Maybe I'm too cold hearted.
"What if there were no hypothetical questions?"

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...On a side note... The sponsorship was with Icarus, not a Neos, they could have been jumping satfires, crossfires ect and still representing the company. I doubt Icarus said they had to jump a Neos. I am not saying they did not know he was flying one, but I bet they would have had no issue if he wanted to fly 169 crossfire or what ever....

I am not taking a side here. I just think that the manufacture is so distant from the DZ that is is not in their bubble to keep track of who is flying what.

I cant even think of a comparable. Fast car manufactures are not selling with discrimination, motorcycles are not sold with discrimination, guns are not sold by how many rounds you have fired in your life.



His canopy progression is on his sponsored profile.
If Icarus isn't keeping track of what their sponsees are jumping, they really should be.
If they are letting their sponsees jump stuff that far ahead of standard progression, then they should really rethink this.
I looked on the Icarus site for skill/experience reccys. They base it on wingloading, but don't list jump numbers. The Neos is suggested W/L 1.8 and above. Their site calls that a "Class 5." Class 4 states " A high degree of experience and competence is necessary to handle a canopy in this range."
Icarus site:
http://www.icaruscanopies.aero/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=7&Itemid=653

WTF? When is 400 jumps considered a "High degree of experience"?

And there are restrictions on high performance cars and motorcycles. They are subtle and fairly easy to get around, but they are there.
Try to get a test drive in something seriously high performance if you are a 18 year old kid. Not gonna happen. If you can buy one, try to get insurance.
And the simple cost of a car that good is a pretty high hurdle to jump. Very few 18 year olds can afford real performance.

Same with motorcycles. Try to get a test ride on a ZX-14 or a Hayabusa. If the dealer doesn't know you or your experience, it isn't going to happen.

You can still buy one, but insurance will be insane. And the bike boards are full of derogatory comments about the "Squids" (their version of a DGIT).

And the very, very big difference between cars and bikes vs canopies is that you can drive a Ferrari slowly. You can't fly a canopy loaded above 1.5 or so slowly. I always goes fast.
"There are NO situations which do not call for a French Maid outfit." Lucky McSwervy

"~ya don't GET old by being weak & stupid!" - Airtwardo

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jhh166


I cant even think of a comparable. Fast car manufactures are not selling with discrimination, motorcycles are not sold with discrimination, guns are not sold by how many rounds you have fired in your life.



Vehicular analogies do not work well for highly loaded canopies.

A fast car or motorcycle can be driven slowly. Full flight (as recommended for landing) is going to be fast on these wings regardless of what you do.

A braked approach is a possibility but that just makes getting a good landing even more tricky.
"The ground does not care who you are. It will always be tougher than the human behind the controls."

~ CanuckInUSA

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What about sponsorship? Do they have a higher duty to ensure their sponsored athletes have appropriate canopies, given that the sponsored athletes are now representing the company and setting an example for other jumpers as to what's appropriate?



Yes, and they screwed up here big time.
"No free man shall ever be debarred the use of arms." -- Thomas Jefferson, Thomas Jefferson Papers, 334

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DocPop

***
I cant even think of a comparable. Fast car manufactures are not selling with discrimination, motorcycles are not sold with discrimination, guns are not sold by how many rounds you have fired in your life.



Vehicular analogies do not work well for highly loaded canopies.

A fast car or motorcycle can be driven slowly. Full flight (as recommended for landing) is going to be fast on these wings regardless of what you do.

A braked approach is a possibility but that just makes getting a good landing even more tricky.

All very true.

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wolfriverjoe

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...On a side note... The sponsorship was with Icarus, not a Neos, they could have been jumping satfires, crossfires ect and still representing the company. I doubt Icarus said they had to jump a Neos. I am not saying they did not know he was flying one, but I bet they would have had no issue if he wanted to fly 169 crossfire or what ever....

I am not taking a side here. I just think that the manufacture is so distant from the DZ that is is not in their bubble to keep track of who is flying what.

I cant even think of a comparable. Fast car manufactures are not selling with discrimination, motorcycles are not sold with discrimination, guns are not sold by how many rounds you have fired in your life.



You can still buy one, but insurance will be insane.


And the very, very big difference between cars and bikes vs canopies is that you can drive a Ferrari slowly. You can't fly a canopy loaded above 1.5 or so slowly. I always goes fast.



I do agree that there is a big difference in the analogies and I mentioned that in my post.

As for the insurance....we are now talking about a third party policing for experience and personal liability, not the manufacture and that was my point.

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jumpinjackflsh

However, this manufacturer has it's SPONSORED TEAM flying cross braced canopies, one just died, with less than a few hundred jumps.

NEOS and Crossfire are NOT crossbaced canopies.
scissors beat paper, paper beat rock, rock beat wingsuit - KarlM

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piisfish

***However, this manufacturer has it's SPONSORED TEAM flying cross braced canopies, one just died, with less than a few hundred jumps.

NEOS and Crossfire are NOT crossbaced canopies.

Sorry, my bad, I was misinformed (nowhere close to a high-performance canopy pilot myself, so I was just parroting what I heard someone else say). Sorry to set the thread off with inaccurate information in the first post.
"There is only one basic human right, the right to do as you damn well please. And with it comes the only basic human duty, the duty to take the consequences." -P.J. O'Rourke

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NEOS and Crossfire are NOT crossbaced canopies.



Actually, the Neos is.

The center three cells are cross-braced. It is also considered a hybrid between a Crossfire and a higher performance, fully cross-braced canopy.

Attached are pictures ofthe first three prototypes.

Cheers,
MEL
Skyworks Parachute Service, LLC
www.Skyworksparachuteservice.com

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